Speaking in a monotone
The elephant and the butterfly
The zebra and the lark
The cuttlefish and the humming bird
The albatross and the shark
The ant and the orangutan
The razorbill and the whale
The hyena and the skunk
The piranha and… the mole
All creatures in their diversity
All life forms great and small
Are the children of evolution
Charles Darwin made them all
The rattlesnake and the tarantula
The penguin and the dove
The dragonfly and the weevil
The tortoise and… the crane?
The wren, the hen…
The cat, the rat, the stoat, the hog
The sow and – the cow…
The dog, the bat, the toad, the frog
All living things in their complexity
All creatures great and small
Are explained by natural selection
Charles Darwin made them all
The porcupine, the lemur
The anaconda and the bear
The antelope and the bison
The python and the hare
The possum and the cockatiel
The mantis and the conger eel
The parrot, the ferret, the weasel, the goat
The catfish, the dogfish, the stingray, the roach
The blackfly, the greenfly, the dragonfly, the wasp
The adder, the mamba, the corn snake, the asp
All creatures of land and ocean
All inhabitants of air and earth
Are the fittest of survivors
Evolution gave them birth
The flamingo, the swan…
The rhinoceros and the lynx
The grizzly, the elk...
The manatee and… the crab?
The worm, the germ, the monkey, the racoon
The slug, the bug, the donkey, the baboon
The hake, the crake, the snail and the bee
The coot, the newt, the quail and the flea
All creatures in their complexity
All life forms great and small
Are explained by evolutionary theory
Charles Darwin made them all
How many of us will survive
The eco-apocalypse?
I am not sure
Perhaps a billion
Perhaps two million
Perhaps fewer
Perhaps more
Perhaps all life on earth will die
When nature’s self-perpetuating
Gaian homeostasis fails
Have we brought this on ourselves?
Are we the inadvertent slayers
of our species?
Of all species, perhaps?
Are we, through inaction,
Our children’s executioners?
Shall we be remembered
As the eliminators of hope?
Are we, through soft complacency,
The eradicators of humanity’s
potential and promise?
– the exterminators
of possibility itself?
Are we laying the foundations
For a planet as desolate as Mars?
Before us
You might have said
That life created
Or at least preserved
A world well suited to itself
After us
You might say
That life was
And is no more
in herself she saw it
overpowering, ineradicably foul
reaching outward to engulf her –
an alternative perception
of herself
am I, she whispered,
so utterly disgusting?
am I
so precisely what I am?
am I, she whispered,
so utterly foul?
am I
nothing more than this?
and in reply it whispered
oh yes you are
oh yes you are
and in reply it whispered, yes
oh yes you are
she reached out to restrain –
to restrain who knows what –
vomit or recrimination
or bloody self-abuse
through grinding teeth she whispered
we are
are we not?
are we not
just what we are?
through grinding teeth she whispered
we are
or are we not?
we are
just what we are
through rictus grin it answered her
a sly and sinuous sound
through rictus grin it whispered
we are
oh yes
we are
we are
oh yes
we are
the blunt and empty caricature
of what she should have been
this moment of cognition
inept and weakly wicked
mocked her from a corner
of her callow bedroom wall
yes, it whispered to her
unknotting the tongue it had twisted
yes, it whispered to her
untwisting its knotted tongue
I am, it whispered to her
I know just what I am
oh yes, it whispered to her
I know truly what I am
© Luke Andreski 2011. All rights reserved.
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